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Movies > Reviews > Doomsday (2008)
Doomsday (2008)
A Sgt Pembry Review...............................................Sunday, March 22, 2009
Doomsday (2008)

Neil Marshall’s Doomsday could be likened to a good stew. What he’s done is got a big pot and thrown in large amounts of Escape from New York and Mad Max's The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome, before topping it off with dashes of 28 Days Later, Resident Evil, Aliens and The Warriors.

Oh, and there’s a hint of the medieval film genre as well for good measure. With the gas on high, the up and coming British writer-director turned chef lets the concoction bubble away before serving up a pretty tasty dish, one that’s more satisfying than downright delicious.


It is just a plain old stew after all - even if it does have some outstanding ingredients. The point is, borrowing heavily from the aforementioned films – and not trying to hide it – Marshall has created a high-octane, adrenaline-filled movie experience that’s as big on action as it is on blood and guts.

But, at the same time, while paying homage to some of these much-loved rugged futuristic adventures, Doomsday also doesn’t bring a lot of new elements to the table. It certainly has its moments, but you spend the majority of the time trying to pick which movie each scene is taken from. And it’s usually not very hard.

In 28 Days Later-style, the film begins with the deadly Reaper virus being unleashed on the population of Scotland, and along with panic and mayhem. The country dissolves into complete and utter anarchy.

Then, we move forward about 25 years later (or was that 28 years later?) and the entire country of Scotland has been segregated from the rest of the world with the construction of a massive boundary wall.

Now, in Escape from New York-style, another eye-patch-wearing badass – though this one is a chick in the form of Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) - has been assigned with the task of entering the cordoned-off country to track down a scientist, Dr Kane, who the British Government believes may have found a cure for the disease which has just made its return in London. And like, Kurt Russell's Snake Plissken, she has a time limit – 48 hours.

In Aliens-style, the take-no-shit Major leads a rough and ready military team into the city of Glasgow, where they are confronted by an extremely large and extremely hostile group of ‘residents’, who – immune to the Reaper virus – are a little pissed off about being isolated from the rest of the world.

In Road Warrior-style, many of these ‘residents’ sport mo-hawks and enjoy throwing the odd fire-bomb, but are also shown to be cannibals, barbecuing one of the captured soldiers and chowing down on him while, cleverly, Adam and the Ants’ Dog Eat Dog is playing on the loud speakers.

In Warriors-style, what’s left of the British team makes a desperate bid to flee the city on foot while being pursued by a bus filled with the locals, including the city’s sadistic ‘A No.1'leader, Sol. At one stage you can even see a gang member decked-out in baseball gear.

Next stop is a blast from the past, when Major Sinclair and her now shrunken crew come across sword-wielding, armored ‘knights’ on horses, the henchman for the aforementioned scientist Dr Kane (played by veteran Malcolm MacDowell), who has set up shop with a few hundred other immune Scotland-ites at one of the country’s abandoned castles.

Suffice to say, the good doctor isn’t very cooperative and forces the Major into a duel with his top executioner while an excited audience looks on in anticipation, waiting for blood, her blood.

But, in both Beyond Thunderdome and Escape from New York-style - but without the giant elastic bands and baseball bats with nails - she disappoints the crowd by managing to bring down the previously indestructible brute with a pick to the head.

Escaping ‘the dark ages’ setting with Kane’s estranged daughter (who turns out to be the cure) in toe, Major Sinclair then finds herself back in Road Warrior-mode, coming across the Glasgow gang out on the open road. I swear I saw Mel Gibson there at one stage.

There are several more references to action films throughout the film, such as when Major Sinclair proclaims “Hit me again and I will kill you” to one of Kane’s guards, which is taken from the highly underrated Bruce Willis vehicle The Last Boy Scout (1991).

Bottom line, the movie is fun, with Marshall keeping the thrills and spills coming at a steady pace, not to mention plenty of shock value.

And, following her roles in Skinwalkers (2007) and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2008), Mitra again proves she can match it with the best female action heroes when it comes a little bit of ass-kicking. She’s no Snake Plissken, but beats Aliens’ Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) on points.

RATING: 6.5/10
There is a new Marshall in town.

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